Helping Vulnerable People Recover – What does success look like?


October 10, 2019 :: Shawna Pinay
Moderated by Colleen Quintal

Many people think that successful work with poverty-stricken street people and people living with drug & alcohol addiction/mental health issues will result in a “normal” life for them. That is however, largely a myth. It’s also true people generally assume that successful work with and help for the impoverished and homeless, should be measured by how close clients get to society’s “norm”, meaning money, a house, a job, a family, living a stereotypical happy and “normal” life as a result of that help.

The speaker will argue that at Streets Alive, success is measured in different ways. For some, 24 hours of sobriety is a success. For some, having a meal and appropriate clothing so they can survive another day is a success. What might seem like a small success to most people is often a huge success for them. And even a small success for our clients is a huge success for us. Every step is celebrated and encouraged.

The work at Streets Alive does aid some clients to be able to get on their feet, get out on their own, and live what one might call a “normal” life. That process of getting them to that point is a series of small steps and every day successes. Some clients will never make it to societies “normal”. That doesn’t mean our work with them aren’t successful. That also doesn’t mean that these clients are not successful. It just means that their successes will look unlike that of others. Success means something different to each of us individually, and everyone’s successes deserve to be applauded, even if those successes do not look like your own.

Speaker: Shawna Pinay

My name is Shawna and I will talk about my journey with sobriety. When society says addicts will never change, I am living proof of the contrary. I came from being on the streets for 14 years doing whatever it took to get my drugs and alcohol. I went to Streets Alive because they had been working with me for the whole 14 years never giving up on me. When I was ready to change, they were there for me, giving me housing and a safe place to call home. I actually had a bed to sleep in and ongoing love and support.

I attended the programs they had to offer and started to learn how to live again sober and clean. I will further explain what it was like to live a so called ”normal” life. With time and getting a job, I was able to move out and have my own place, money and my family back. All the benefits Streets Alive had to offer gave hope back in my life that I wasn’t just worthless and never going to succeed in anything. I am now the assistant director of the Streets Alive Genesis program where I get to work with women in need, bringing them into recovery and seeing them change.

Moderator: Collen Quintal

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, Presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required


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